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I am pleased that I have had the opportunity to live in the 21st century.

The world is now in the throes of a massive digital experiment testing wether it’s better living in a digital world or an analog one.

People have invited google and amazon into their private lives adopting digital devices that listen to everything they say, and this massive intrusion into their privacy is supposed to make their lives better at some level.

My faith in corporate America is at an all time low, and I cannot imagine why anyone would voluntarily spend money to initiate digital surveillance in their own home.

I cannot see how this is going to end well. It’s only a matter of time before digital surveillance shifts from being voluntary to mandatory. All we need is a government that is far right or far left to activate all the hardware and technology that is already in place.

But this post is not about a dystopian digital future.

This post is about digital photography.

Prior to the advent of digital photography, I spent tens of thousands of dollars on film.

My first trip to Africa in 1972 was an analog adventure. I had a Nikon camera with thirty rolls of film. I worked in a remote mission hospital for three months, visited outlying clinics, and I even made a short safari out to Masai Mara.

When all you have is thirty rolls of film, taking a photo is not a trivial event. Your film needs to last the duration of the trip, and when you take a picture of one thing, it means you won’t have enough film to take a picture of something else. It was a good exercise in self-restraint and rationing, and I was able to make my film last the full three months. I learned that you plan your shots and select them well in an analog world.

I probably drove more than 100,000 miles in the Arabian Desert during the sixteen years I worked as an eye surgeon in Riyadh. Every time we went into the desert for a weekend adventure, we burned through a couple rolls of film. If we did a nine day Empty Quarter expedition, at least twenty rolls of film bit the dust. Getting prints made of all those adventures was expensive - not to mention all the duplicates I had to make for my son and daughter.

We started our circumnavigation in an analogue world, and it wasn’t until we were half way around the world that we got our first digital camera.

No more rationing of photographs. No more expensive duplicates for family and fiends. Life was instantly good.

My first digital camera was a D-70 Nikon that I got in Singapore. From that point on we were committed to the digital world. I don’t think I have shot a film camera since Singapore in 2004.

I followed the Nikon path through numerous DSLR upgrades, and I invested in macro and telephoto lenses. The pictures were everything I hoped for and more. The only downside was I had to lug around a big camera body with a telephoto lens. I stood out like a sore thumb wherever I went, and that’s not a good thing in many places in the developing world.

I still have my Nikon cameras and lenses, but they are securely tucked away unused for several years.

For the past two years my only camera is my iPhone. Virtually everything I shoot is with my iPhone. Occasionally I wish I had a powerful telephoto, but usually I just walk closer to the subject of interest, and my iPhone gets the job done.

The iPhone does especially well in the developing world where it’s a good idea to maintain a low profile. You get better pictures and attract less attention.

Our transition from the dark side of film to the light side of digital photography is now complete, and I see no reason to go back.

If I decided to become a professional photographer shooting photos that had an extremely high dynamic range, I would return to the world of film.

In my world I am shooting for myself, my family and friends, and my iPhone gets outstanding results. I am shooting for the web, and I don’t need 48 megapixels to tell my story.

My digital memories are now affordable, in focus, and free, and it doesn’t get any better than that.

Dr. Dave

Captain Dave - David J. Abbott M.D.





Exit Only

See what it's like for a family to sail around the world on a small catamaran

Captain Save Our Souls

Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.

Red Sea Blues

Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.

Red Sea Chronicles Trailer

If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 1 - When Flying Fish Attack

Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 2 - Pirate Alley

Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 3 - Aden, Yemen

Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 4- Gate of Sorrows and Sandstorms

After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.

Patreon - Maxing Out

Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew shot 200 hours of video with professional cameras to show people what it's like to sail on a small boat around the world.

The Red Sea Chronicles is a one hour and twenty-two minute feature film showing their adventures as Exit Only sails through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden and up the Red Sea. The professional footage documents their experiences in Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, and the Suez Canal. It chronicles the rigors of traveling in a remote section of the world rarely visited by cruisers. Exit Only dodges Yemeni pirates, fights a gale and sand storms in the Bab al Mandeb at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The crew explores deserted islands on the western shores of the Red Sea, and learns to check the cruising guides for land mines before venturing ashore.

The Red Sea Chronicles also has outstanding Special Features including an Instructional Video on Storm Management that tells sailors how to deal with storms at sea.

And don't forget the two Music Videos: "The Red Sea Blues", and "Captain - Save Our Souls".

The Red Sea Chronicles is a first class adventure that stokes the sailing dreams of both experienced and wannabe sailors alike.


    Team Maxing Out Sails Around The World On Their 39 Foot Catamaran

    Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea


    Give your dream machine a shot in the arm

    See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one


    View the storm management video to learn how Captain Dave dealt with storms at sea

    After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams

Red Sea Chronicles

Save A Tree Bookstore

Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.